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Thursday, November 09, 2006 

Ralph Klein Goes After Belinda Stronach With Sexist Humour

The outgoing Premier of Alberta just can't seem to stay out of the news.

Recently he attacked Bob Rae. Now he is going after Belinda Stronach.

While speaking at a banquet in Alberta, the Premier made a joke that some will see as off colour and sexist.

Ottawa Sun
Winnipeg Sun

Ralph Klein and George Allen have something in common. They're both conservatives and not afraid to let the world know it.

What wrong with sexist humour?
We at Progressive Bloggers support sexist humour. Get on board.

poor old Ralph, I know Albertans love him (and I'm even trying to win best blog series of the year at his expense) - but he's just such a perfect target ... how can I pass up on him when he leaves himself so open?

He reminds me of Dick Nixon 'who the heck are we gonna kick around after he's gone? I will say this for Ralph, he is a character. A genuince , true blue, dyed in the wool, colourful C H A R A C T E R

Don't get me wrong, this is WAY worse than any of the "dog" of "bitch" stuff of late, imho, it's crude, and beyond the pale.

But is it "sexist"?

The Oxford Canadian Dictionary defines sexism as 1)prejudice or discrimination, esp. against women on the grounds of sex. 2)behaviour or attitudes derived from a traditional stereotype of sexual roles.

I suppose one might argue that it is sexist that someone would make this joke at Stronach's expense when a similar joke would not be made at a man's expense, however, while they might not have been as crude, or received as much play as this joke, I'm pretty sure there were some similar jokes made at MacKay's expense vis a vis Condaleeza Rice.

This joke deosn't suggest Stronach is inferior. Or stereotypically "female". It's not calling her a dog or some lower species. The crux of the joke is that Belinda Stronach had sex with Peter MacKay. Is it crude? Of course. Deplorable. ABSOLUTELY. Funny? No, not really. Does Klein owe Stronach and abject apology? Definitely.

However, I'm not sure I understand what's "sexist" about a joke who's punchline is, essentially "Belinda Stronach had sexual intercourse with Peter MacKay".

It would certainly be a sexist joke if we all were of the opinion that the sex lives of women are to be discussed delicately, if at all, and were we afraid that women would swoon at such a lude and crass discussion of female sexuality. To me though, THAT'S sexist.

There could very well be an angle I'm not seeing though.


Hey lord kitchener's own .. the definition is "The Oxford Canadian Dictionary defines sexism as 1)prejudice or discrimination, esp. against women on the grounds of sex"

I found the comment about the 'only' conservative bone in her body' as being the sexist aspect. - with reference to the sexual act.

AND because it comes from a LAME DUCK Premier who threw a book at a legislative page really bugged me.
Ralph - that's called ASSAULT

left dog,

I realize the "conservative bone" line is a reference to the sexual act. What confuses me is what makes the reference "sexist" (the word "sex" in the definition you quote is "gender" not "sexual act"). The joke is "sexual" yes, but "sexist"?

One could argue, I suppose, that the fact that a joke like this is told about Stronach and (perhaps) wouldn't be told about a man is sexist. I don't necessarily agree, given that quite similar (though perhaps less crass) jokes were made about MacKay vis-a-vis Secretary Rice, and those were fair game. My point is that the joke itself is not sexist, whether or not Klein's telling of the joke is sexist which is debatable.

The punchline of the joke is "Belinda Stronach had sexual intercourse with Peter MacKay". It's crude, and rude, and inappropriate, and maybe even cruel, but how exactly is it "sexist"?

Seems to me, the idea that Ms. Stronach's delicate sensitivities need to be protected from this kind of crass humour is what's truly sexist here. I'm absolutely positive she can handle this, and I hope she takes the high road and simply points out that the joke says much more about Klein than it does about her, and leave it at that.

We don't need to defend Belinda's honour. There's nothing dishonourable about a woman having sex. Though inappropriate, in this context, there's nothing "sexist" in pointing out that a woman had sex. This joke was crude and completely inappropriate. Klein owes Stronach (and MacKay too really) an apology. I think calling the joke sexist though suggests a double standard in how we view female sexuality, versus how we view male sexuality, which is much more sexist than this lame "joke" could ever be.

lord, would it have been a joke if reference was made to 'a bone IN Peter McKay' - by my interpretation there is inherent in this joke, the mocking of the female part of heterosexual intercourse, a derogatory play on words concerning penetration.

Inappropriate? YES!
Sexist? YES (because by the definition you gave, "2)behaviour or attitudes derived from a traditional stereotype of sexual roles."

When a woman is reduced to nothing more than her sexual life it is a sexist act, no ifs, ands, buts, or maybes about it! When a high profile woman such as Belinda Stronach is abused, repeatedly, by male politicians, it is a sign that sexism thrives in Canadian politics, no ifs, ands, buts, or maybes about it!

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